Originally the brainchild of esteemed beer writer, Pete Brown and his industry colleagues, Jo Miller and Dark Star Brewing's James Cuthbertson back in 2012, it took three years for the group to establish the inaugural awards which took place, amongst much fanfare, last year where Fullers were the big winners with their Made of London campaign. This year’s edition continued on the success bred out of the desire to unite the entire brewing industry and celebrate the creativity and diversity of Beer Marketing over the last 18 months.
Headline sponsors Matthew Clarke’s Boutique Beers stocked the bars with a more than appetising global array of beers: from Brewdog’s latest lager, Kingpin, to further afield Stevens Point’s Pale Ale and Tooting’s own By the Horns brewery’s Wolfie Smith Amber IPA bringing the range back home.
However, the pre-awards drinks show was stolen by Vedett’s #GetFamous activation that announced itself multiple times with groups of punters (including us) shouting “Get Famous!” As the echo subsided our group was dragged into a photo booth featuring 3 Vedett beers on tap and an ambassador to tell us about the brand history and range of beers before handing out a coaster on which our photo was printed. A great souvenir for the evening.
Its time to kick off at #BMA16! 🍻🏆🍻
A photo posted by Hallway (@hallwaystudios) on
A great activation by @vedett at #beermarketingawards #vedettcoaster
A photo posted by Hallway (@hallwaystudios) on
The smell of Indian street food wafted through the building as the folks at Kolkati served up their phenomenal Kati rolls and the Big Apple gents provided their New York-inspired Hotdogs, ushering in awards time.
Pete Brown's introduction was delivered with familiar tongue in cheek, as he spoke of another year of AB-InBev's continued Craft Brewery spending spree and imminent merger with SABMiller. His overall message, however, focused on how the roles of creativity and marketing transcended the constraints of budget and brewery size, and the subsequent celebration of which the Beer Marketing Awards had been founded.
The first award of the evening, Best Campaign: Broadcast, went to Greene King IPA for their heart-warming “To the Pub” campaign which commissioned 50 films from 50 different pubs, each film being unscripted and illustrating the story of each individual pub.
Best Packaging/Design went to our table colleagues, ThirstCraft for their work on Loch Ness Brewery; design that truly stands out while it pokes fun at the Legend of Nessie.
Best Business to Business Marketing went to Carlsberg for their Crafted campaign, educating publicans across the country on stocking craft beer, while still maintaining brewery independence.
Fuller’s London Pride deservedly won Best Event for their work on The Clubhouse, the perfect venue to catch all the Rugby action during Rugby World Cup 2015. The campaign really introduced London Pride to a new audience.
2015 saw the introduction of the first Shazamable can, an innovation that won Island Records the award for Best Innovation as they highlighted the beauty of pairing good beer and great music.
Best integrated Campaign went to Britain’s Beer Alliance for their excellent There’s a Beer for that campaign, announcing to the masses the role that beer has to play in food pairing.
Budvar’s incredible work for their Tank Beer installations won them the award for Best Merchandise. Each tank installation was tailored to perfectly match the design of each individual venue.
In spite of Brewdog’s award-winning dig, Guinness were Made of More and scooped the award for Best Online Marketing, for their excellent use of Social Media during the RWC 2015.
Best Public Relations Campaign was awarded to Kronenbourg’s Le Big Swim, documenting Eric Cantona’s swim across the English Channel, done in true Cantona style.
Brewdog are never far from controversy and are notorious for their marketing, so it comes as no surprise that they picked up the award for Best Stunt/Guerrilla Marketing for their DIY Dog, where they released their entire recipe book for homebrewers to use as they attempt to recreate Brewdog’s beers.
Best Use of Competitions was awarded to Shepheard Neame for their Spitfire Ale 75th Campaign, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
The sponsorship of Rugby World Cup 2015 by Heineken was formidable and ultimately won them the award for Best Sponsorship. Not only did they plaster their logo all over England, but they created exceptional events for rugby fans during the World Cup.
The brewing world had been stunned by the sudden passing of Glenn Payne, a man who was so incredibly instrumental in cultivating the growth of craft beer in the UK, and fittingly the award for Outstanding Individual Contribution was given in Glenn’s memory.
As if by fate, The Beer Marketing Awards Grand Prix for 2016 was to be scrapped over by none other than Brewdog and Guinness. Two polar opposites of the Beer Marketing industry, and a decision that had the judges pulling out their hair. Ultimately the Grand Prix was awarded to Guinness for their consistent excellence across all marketing disciplines, and exceptional executions.
With the awards wrapped up for another year, and congratulations being handed out across the room, it was time to tuck into the beers again and contemplate the success of only the 2nd annual Beer Marketing Awards. I, for one, am looking forward to the next year in the Beer Marketing world, and particularly interested in what innovations will take place across digital marketing for craft brewers.
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